Norms and Tax Evasion

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Barth, Erling, Alexander W. Cappelen and Tone Ognedal




Frisch Rapport
Nummer i serie: 4

Sammendrag (engelsk)

Norms about tax evasion may influence the individual’s decision whether to evade taxes or not in two ways: First, most people feel the need to justify their actions to themselves. The individual’s own norms about tax evasion will therefore affect his decisions whether to evade taxes or not. Second, most people are also influenced by what they perceive to be socially acceptable behavior, at least among people who are important to them. The individual’s perception of other people’s norms can therefore also be of importance when we want to understand his decision of whether to evade taxes or not. This paper uses survey data from 2003. The results confirm the hypothesis that norms affect peoples’ propensity to evade taxes. First, the analysis shows that peoples’ beliefs about other people’s attitudes towards tax evasion are important for their own willingness to accept unregistered work. Second, we find that peoples’ own norms are important determinants of their willingness to evade taxes. Finally, we argue that the role of norms is not simply to rationalize behavior that is essentially determined by other factors


Tax Evasion, Norms

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Oppdragsgiver: Skattedirektoratet
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Frisch prosjekt: 2411 - Svart økonomi i Norge